Crunchy Asian Salad with Chicken or Tofu

Crunchy Asian-Style Salad with Chicken (or Tofu) Skewers

A light, bright salad that's bursting with flavor thanks to the sweet, hot tang of its dressing. The Indonesian sauce sambal oelek is responsible for the heat of the salad. If you don't have sambal,  use sriracha or another hot sauce instead, making sure to adjust the amount since different sauces have different levels of spiciness.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
marinating time 1 hour
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Calories 350 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • ½ cup lime juice (3 to 4 juicy limes)
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (use soy sauce for a vegan version of the recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 ½ tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the skewers
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or firm, drained tofu
  • ½ head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)
  • ½ head red cabbage, shredded (about 9 cups)
  • 2 large naval oranges
  • 2/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil or fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced white and light green parts only
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts


  1. Cut the chicken (or tofu) into 1 to 1 ½-inch cubes and put in an 8x8-inch baking dish. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, sambal oelek, fish sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, and salt. Pour about ⅓ of the dressing over the chicken (or tofu) and toss well. Marinate in the fridge for at least one hour (up to overnight).

  3. In a large bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage, basil, mint, and scallions. Set the oranges on a cutting board and use a serrated edge or very sharp knife to shear off the peel and pith. Cut in quarters through the stem ends and then slice crosswise into ¼-inch triangles. Add to the salad.

  4. Thread the marinated chicken/tofu onto wooden skewers and lightly season with salt and black pepper. Broil or grill the skewers on all sides until cooked through.

  5. Drizzle most of the dressing over the salad and toss well. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Divide into serving bowls, scatter peanuts on top, and serve with skewers on the side.

Recipe Notes

Notes: Sambal oelek is a spicy Indonesian chile sauce. You can find it in the Asian section of many supermarkets and specialty stores. If you don’t have sambal oelek, substitute sriracha and start with just a few teaspoons, increasing the amount as needed to taste.